Following a rare subpar shooting performance, Creighton will try to bounce back in a hurry before a big conference showdown this weekend.
Creighton’s 11-game winning streak was snapped Saturday in a wild 65-62 loss at Northern Iowa. The Panthers hit a 3-pointer as time expired after Antoine Young tied the game on a 3 with 4.6 seconds left.
The defeat dropped the Bluejays (21-3, 11-2) into a tie for first place in the conference with Wichita State.
While Creighton leads Division I in field-goal percentage (51.2 percent) and 3-point accuracy (44.8 percent), it went 5 of 16 from beyond the arc Saturday and shot 42.1 percent overall, including 37.9 percent in the second half.
The Bluejays were held to their fewest points this season. Doug McDermott had 18 points and 12 rebounds while Young finished with a season-high 23 points, although he took 21 shots.
The two didn’t receive much help. Creighton’s bench was held to 10 points, with Josh Jones, who averaged 12.0 the previous two games, going scoreless.
“We just needed some offense from somewhere else. Antoine and Doug were good,” coach Greg McDermott said. “It was just one of those nights. You play (24) games and they’re not all going to be perfect.”
McDermott’s team will need to bounce back quickly, as it hosts Wichita State on Saturday.
“This group of guys has done an unbelievable job of learning through success and improving as we’ve been successful,” he said. “We’ve got to look at it, figure out where we went wrong … and put it into the rear-view mirror. We go to Evansville Tuesday and host Wichita Saturday, so this was the start of a big week for us.”
The Bluejays may expect to shoot better considering Evansville ranks at or near the bottom of the Missouri Valley in several defensive categories, giving up 72.3 points per game - ninth in the 10-team conference - on 48.1 percent shooting, last in the MVC.
Like Creighton, Evansville (11-12, 6-7) is also coming off a last-second loss. The Aces have dropped three of four following Saturday’s 53-52 defeat at Southern Illinois.
Evansville turned the ball over on consecutive possessions late in the second half after coming back from a 52-46 deficit. Troy Taylor gave it away in the final seconds and Evansville was forced to send the Salukis to the line, where they made 1 of 2 with 2 seconds left.
Evansville leading scorer Colt Ryan, who averaged 23.5 points the previous two games, scored 13 on 4-of-11 shooting and the Aces had 16 turnovers.
Despite struggling defensively throughout much of the season, Evansville took advantage of consecutive games against two of the conference’s worst teams to improve its numbers. The Aces limited Southern Illinois to 43.2 percent shooting after holding Bradley to 40.8 percent in a 92-62 rout Wednesday.
Creighton, however, has shot 51.6 percent while winning six straight over Evansville and has taken 12 of the last 13 meetings.